Ram Setu, Sethusamudram, and Indian Politicians

Indians had been very poor in preserving history. Forget Valmiki, the Aadikavi! There is even controversy over the birth place of Tulsidas, whose Ramcharitmanas happens to be the most popular and respected religious book (by number) in India. The country and its Hindus have not done anything significant to save the places related to him. It is painful to hear and read how every single development project is either delayed or sacrificed because of political or religious reasons.

According to TV channels, from Jammu to Kerala lakhs of VHP workers, joined by Bajrang Dal, RSS, BJP and ABVP activists, blocked road and rail traffic in protest against a project that appears to be one of national importance to an engineer like me and others and inconvenienced the working class. In Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, the protest took a communal turn.

It all happened because an affidavit was not correctly worded: ”Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature, but these cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters and occurrences of events depicted therein.”

The Sethusamudram project is meant to dredge an 83-km-long canal linking Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar to reduce shipping distance by almost 600kms. For environmentalists, the project would destroy marine biodiversity and increase the risk of natural disasters. To the politicians trying to keep the so-called Hindu vote in their favours, the project would wipe out Adam’s Bridge or Ram Setu, built by an army of monkeys led by Lord Ram to rescue his wife from Ravana.

I am sure if Valmiki, Tulsidas, or even Ram whose all acts were to keep his people happy and prosperous, appear today incarnated again, will give their verdict in favour of the project.

The Sethu Samudram Ship Canal project will enable vessels to save on time taken to circumnavigate the Sri Lankan island while going from west to east. It is a commercial proposal as other famous canals in the world such as the Suez or Panama. The project will save millions of rupees every year for the country. Why should the politicians obstruct that with a hope that it can get them the vote of a community that is so much divided in thousands of castes? Let them drop their myth.

And if the political parties can make an institution such as the Archealogical Survey of India change its version, how can the people hereafter believe on its inferences?

Unfortunately, the professionals are not trained to be politically prudent.

I was recently reading an article in the economists on nuclear power. It says, “Nuclear power was accepted by politicians and the public alike, so there are few delays due to protests or planning problems.” And France today are having the largest number of nuclear power plants in the world about which the leftists are raising so much hue and cry.

Why can’t the politicians take some lessons from other developed and developing nations and stop exploiting this right of democracy for a wrong antinational cause?

Instead, the project can get a nicely coined name with Rama to keep the memory of His Bridge alive for the centuries to come.

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